Tag Archives: loss of reading comprehension

Losing my Reading Comprehension

I lost a lot of my reading comprehension while I was floxed. I could still officially read – if you gave me a short memo that said, “buy milk,” or something like that, I could read it. But reading a novel or complex materials for work became really difficult. I lost track of the content of the beginning of a paragraph by the time I reached the end of the paragraph. I struggled to understand things that I used to be able to read with ease. I read The Hunger Games series about 2 months after I got floxed. Despite the fact that most 14-year-olds are able to understand those books, and I could have breezed through them before I got floxed (especially when I was 14), I struggled to comprehend them. I remember the basic gist of the books, but the details were lost on me. I read them slowly and without joy or interest (which kind of sucks because I heard that they were fun). My job requires me to read so I had to force myself to read materials for work, but it was difficult to get through them and I had to read everything two or more times in order to understand what I had read. Even after reading work materials a couple of times, I was still unsure about what I had read.

I hated the feeling of not being able to read like I used to be able to. It was horrible. It was scary. I thought that I was stupid and that I would continue to be stupid because I would never be able to comprehend written words again. I doubted my ability to do my job. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to learn about what happened to me because I couldn’t read well enough to research. I was scared that I would never be able to enjoy reading a novel again. I was scared that I was unemployable.

Interestingly though, I could still write. My writing actually improved after getting floxed. Written words could flow out of me, but it was a one-way stream – they couldn’t come back in.

I thought of the loss of reading comprehension as a symptom, but it never occurred to me that my improved writing may be a symptom too until other floxies started to report to me that they experienced the same thing – a loss of reading comprehension along with an improved capacity for writing.

Isn’t that odd? Something similar happened in our brains that made us less capable of reading and more capable of writing. It’s really strange and I’m curious about it. What happened? Why would that be a common set of symptoms for multiple people who are suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity?

Neither a loss of reading comprehension nor an increased capacity for writing are the most severe symptoms that most floxies experience, so I would guess that most people would want research funds to be focused elsewhere. But I wonder if any neurologists find this curious symptom to be interesting enough to study it. If there are any neurologists who read this who want to hear about my experience, please let me know (but know that my willingness to undergo testing is pretty close to zero).

The most simple explanation for these symptoms is that oxidative stress in the brain is what hurt our reading comprehension, and our writing capacity increased because we had something to say. Also, our brains had to compensate in some way for the loss of reading comprehension and perhaps they did so with an increased capacity for writing. That seems like an overly simplified way of looking at complex processes though, and I’m still quite curious about what happened in my floxed brain.

It’s interesting. At least, I think it is. I think that it should be studied. Maybe along with all of the other deleterious effects on the brain/mind that result from fluoroquinolone use.

Are any researchers, scientists or doctors curious about this?

Sadly and strangely, there seems to be a lack of curiosity about anything related to adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones. Maybe that’s because the symptoms are so broad. How does one even start to examine multi-symptom, chronic illness? It’s too big. Perhaps noting some of the little symptoms will pique some curiosity.

I hope so.

P.S. – I can read again. I feel like some of my writing talent has diminished as my reading capacity has increased. This is probably perception more than objective reality, but I wonder if there is only a certain amount of capacity that I have for written words and as one goes up, it takes from the other. Probably not. 🙂

 

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Healing my Brain After Cipro

The scariest parts of getting floxed, for me, were the cognitive losses that I experienced. I lost my memory, my reading comprehension, my concentration, my ability to connect with people and have a meaningful conversation, my ability to understand what was going on at work, etc. I felt stupid. I felt as if my IQ had dropped significantly. My job, which I had done with ease before getting sick, suddenly felt difficult. I had trouble reading; books that I could previously understand with ease, suddenly became incomprehensible.

It was horrible.

Having my muscles and tendons not work like they used to was scary, but losing important aspects of my mind was terrifying.

I had always thought of myself as a smart person and to have that taken away from me was so, so, so difficult. Losing my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, etc. made me question my identity as a “smart” person. If I didn’t have those things, was I still smart? Was I still capable? Could I understand things that I needed to understand to be able to do my job, connect with my loved ones and identify myself as intelligent?

All of those questions went through my head. Both the questions, and the honest answer of – I don’t know – were difficult to deal with.

I tried lots of things to get my mind back. I’m not sure how much of a difference any single thing made, but cumulatively, they worked. I got at least most of my cognitive skills back. I’m not any slower mentally now than I was before I got sick – or at least I don’t think I am.

There’s not a protocol for what to do to get your brain back after getting floxed, so I had to guess about what would help me. I tried various things. Here are the things that seemed to help:

  1. Time. First and foremost, time helped. Getting back to a place where I felt as intelligent as I did before I got floxed took time. It was one of the last things to come back, but it did come back. I have recovered my memory, reading comprehension, concentration, ability to follow conversations, etc. Time was my friend. It healed my cognitive wounds along with my physical wounds.
  2. Meditation. Meditating helped me to gain my concentration back. If you can concentrate on your breath, you can concentrate on a book. Both are pretty difficult when floxed. Concentrating on the breath while meditating is difficult for non-floxies too. Attempting to do something that is difficult (meditating is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing in the world to do) helped me to do other things that were comparatively easy.
  3. Suduku puzzles. I did a suduku puzzle a day for at least a year. It engaged my brain. It helped me to concentrate.
  4. Reading. Practice makes perfect, as they say. I kept reading and eventually it got easier.
  5. Writing. I think that writing the articles that I have put online has helped me to organize my thoughts, remember information, etc.
  6. Researching. The articles about how fluoroquinolones affect cells are not easy. They’re actually really, really hard. Learning the language that is in the scientific journal articles that I now read for fun (well, to figure this stuff out, but I am doing it voluntarily so I suppose that it is “for fun”) has exercised my brain.
  7. Lecithin. I supplement lecithin. I think that it has cleared up some of the brain fog that I had. Here is an article about the benefits of lecithin – http://www.diannecraft.org/improving-your-memory-with-lecithin/ One thing to note is that lecithin is soy based so be forewarned of that if you can’t eat soy.

With all of those things, and some luck, I have recovered my mental capabilities. My brain fog has receded. My memory, reading comprehension, connectedness and concentration are as good as they were before I got sick. In some ways, I may even be smarter now than I was before I got floxed. I didn’t read biochem journals for fun before I got floxed. I didn’t know what lymphcytes or reactive oxygen species or acyl glucuronides were before I got floxed. I know what those things are now (okay, so I don’t really understand acyl glucuronides, but who does?).

I know that the loss of mental capabilities the happens with fluoroquinolone toxicity is really scary. Please try to believe that it will pass and that it will get better. It did for me. My mind recovered along with my body. I sincerely hope the same for you!

 

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